Maybe it’s because I’ve only been here for two months, or maybe it’s just nostalgia for my own college days, but with Customs Week at Bryn Mawr wrapping up, and classes getting underway, I’m feeling sympathy for new students and faculty navigating campus. Even with ten days living in a Pem East single as a CLIR Fellow under my belt, I still keep a copy of the current campus map in my bag and bookmarked on my iPhone. (At least I’m no longer confusing Taylor with Thomas!)
I’ve also been thinking a lot about maps after taking my first introduction to ArcGIS mapping software last month, as part of a Mellon-funded Tri-Co Environmental Studies initiative organized by Swarthmore College. Over three days, I joined nearly twenty Tri-Co faculty members interested in the possibilities of organizing spacial data. With most of us new to ArcGIS, the workshop opened with two basic questions:
- What kinds of spacial questions do you encounter in your research?
- What kinds of spacial questions do our students encounter in their classes?
To put it another way, maps can tell us where we are, but can they tell us who we are?